NEIL Harris says the clash against Wigan Athletic at The Den on Tuesday night is the biggest game of Millwall’s season so far.
Eight points separate Millwall in fifth and Wigan in second. A defeat against Latics, therefore, would make it difficult for the Lions to recover the deficit with 12 games left.
Shaun Cummings and Tony Craig are long-term absentees, but Carlos Edwards returns to the squad after missing the draw at Doncaster for personal reasons.
Midfielder Ed Upson could also feature after a hamstring injury.
The sides drew 2-2 at the DW Stadium in September, a result that left them in ninth and 12th places in League One, respectively.
Both are in promotion contention after consistent spells of form, with Wigan protecting a 12-game unbeaten run in the league.
Gary Caldwell added Sam Morsy, Ryan Colclough and Conor McAleny to his squad in January as they, like Millwall, aim to win promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt.
Harris is still also eying automatic promotion, and he hinted at making some changes tonight to the side that drew 1-1 at Doncaster last weekend.
“We’ve three games in a week, we had a really tough game on Saturday against a different formation, so we had to cover a lot of ground,” Harris said.
“But the players are fit and firing and will be ready to go again. We’ve got options to freshen it up, particularly with players like Shaun Williams, Aiden O’Brien and Fred Onyedinma all available, players who made a big impact in the Wigan game earlier in the season.
“If we feel we need to change the team to win the game we’ll certainly do that.
“They’re a very good footballing side. They certainly look to retain possession, but we’ll be patient to a certain degree and then you’ll see an aggression in us.
“We have to expect them to have the football, they certainly had it for large spells of the game in the first hour at Wigan. We put them under real pressure for the last half an hour and should have won the game.
“Gary has assembled a really good squad. The parachute payments have made it possible for them to go and buy a lot of good players.
“It’s a really good challenge for us. It’s the biggest game of the season for us, first because it’s the next one and second because of the opposition."
Wigan defeated Bury 3-0 last weekend to move to within two points of Burton at the top of the table, but Caldwell is aware of the difficulty of the challenge his players face at The Den.
“It’s one of the toughest matches in our recent run of games, and to be fair it’s one of the toughest matches we’ll face all season,” Caldwell told the club’s official website.
“Going away to Millwall is never easy. They’re playing well and their results are good at the moment.
“We’re two of the form teams in the league, so it sets us up for a very exciting and entertaining game.”
Millwall record against Wigan:
Won 12 Drawn 9 Lost 7
Form guide (Last five league):
Sky Bet odds:
Millwall 7/4 Draw 23/10 Wigan 6/4
Probable Millwall team:
4-4-2: Archer; Romeo, Webster, Beevers, J Martin; Wallace, Abdou, Thompson, Ferguson; Morison, Gregory.
League One, September 29, 2015
Wigan 2 (Jacobs 54, Grigg 92)
Millwall 2 (Onyedinma 69 Beevers 74)
Wigan: O'Donnell; Daniels, Barnett, McCann; James (Odelusi, 85), Perkins, Power (Grigg, 77), Murray (Francisco Júnior, 45), Jacobs; Chow, Hiwula-Mayifuila.
Millwall: Archer; Edwards, Webster, Beevers, Craig; Upson (Onyedinma, 63), Williams, Abdou, Ferguson (Morison, 64), Gregory, O'Brien (Thompson, 83).